How to keep your bike safe in Florence

How to keep your bike safe in Florence

It is the season for cycling, but some sound advice helps keep your bike safe year-round.

Tue 28 May 2024 10:20 AM

If you’re investing in a bike, it is important to know how to keep it safe and protect it from potential theft. Here are a few tips and tricks to protect your beloved bike in Florence. 

The bike parking lot at Santa Maria Novella train station

1. Make your bike look as unappealing as possible

A bit of battering makes your two wheels far less interesting to potential thieves and may keep your bike in your possession. Secondhand bikes often come with a little rust or with the paint peeling off, but that works in your favour. Most of Florence’s bicycle shops also sell second-hand bikes and many trade used bikes exclusively, but Facebook Marketplace is also a very worthy start, normally for lower price points.

2. Spend on a top-of-the-range bike lock instead. 

Simple chains can easily be cut and a number of reinforced alternatives provide greater security, so the higher quality is worth the higher cost. Chains coated with silicone or rubber offer more than those without, but the strongest defence against bolt cutters are U-locks, made from a rigid metal ring, usually fitted with a combination lock. For an extra layer of security, it can be as simple as using two locks, one for each wheel. It is also advisable to always secure bikes to a bike rack rather than simply to itself, and looping the chain through the wheel spokes, frame and the bike rack makes it less likely that you’ll return to a bike with no wheels. Rather than opting for a street sign or fence, bike racks are a safer bet, as bikes left in unpermitted places can be removed by the municipal police.

3. Park your bike in areas with a higher security presence

Some examples are the bike rack next to the Palazzo Vecchio, on piazza Santa Trinita, piazza Santa Maria Novella, or anywhere near a bank or police station. Avoid the likes of piazza dell’Indipendenza, areas around the train station (with the exception of the free bike parking facility by the car park in the basement of the station, which is open 7am to 8pm) or down small, dimly lit alleys. Switching it up is also sound advice, instead of leaving your bike in the same spot each time. Last year saw Florence’s first “biclostazione” installed in the Rifredi area, a locked box for bikes and e-bikes that can only be opened by those with a 10-euro monthly subscription, providing greater protection against theft and weathering. 

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